Easy Integration: Getting New Team Members Up and Running Quickly

  "Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they're doing it because they care about the team."–Patrick Lencioni, American business author. Whether functioning as a team leader or a member, at some point in your career, you'll help integrate new people into your work group. (← click to tweet) Boom cycles, personnel turnover and team expansion are common times. Team members get promoted, start their own new teams, or move on to other jobs, while newbies come aboard. While this process can be disruptive to everyone on the team, it's also unavoidable. As with every business challenge, you can find ways handle this issue with a minimum of fuss, and even re-frame it as an opportunity. If nothing else, integrating new people into your team shows upper management your … [Read more...]

Standing Out Above the Crowd: How to Toot Your Own Horn

"Become addicted to constant and never-ending self-improvement." – Anthony J. D'Angelo, self-improvement author and speaker. When I was young and first heard the term "human resources," it took me a while to figure out what it meant. I wasn't used to thinking of people and their experiences, educations, and abilities as "resources," in the same sense that energy, materials, and supplies are resources. But looking at the equation from a hard-nosed business perspective, that's exactly what people are. In fact, personnel represent the most important part of any business equation, though we sometimes lose sight of this fact. As with all resources, smart businesses want to maximize the return on the investment they've made in you; this is why you're occasionally sent to training courses, q … [Read more...]

Subconscious Productivity: Four Ways Your Brain Can Make You More Productive

"Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will someday become a reality." – Earl Nightingale, American motivational writer, speaker, and author. It's well established that, like an iceberg, only a small percentage of a person's mind is "above the water," active and aware, at any particular time. I'm not going to spout the over-used claim that you use only 10% of your brain on average; the majority of your brain is, in fact, used to control automatic and autonomous functions like breathing and heartbeat, as well as to process the flood of incoming sensory information you deal with constantly. Besides, this is the mind I'm talking about here, as apart from the brain: the consciousness that the electrochemical reactions inside in your head somehow g … [Read more...]

Managing UP: Four Things Never to Do

"One who controls others is masterful, but one who has mastered himself is mightier still." – Lao-Tzu, Ancient Chinese philosopher. I'm a firm believer in managing up, the process of striving to learn and meet your manager's needs without he or she even having to ask. Despite what it may sound like, managing up isn't about control; it's about anticipation and deliberate action designed to benefit both parties in the relationship. Your leaders need to know that you are always on top of the key items and that you properly communicate your progress without overwhelming them. A wise leader doesn't resent direct reports managing up, because he or she knows that it helps everyone. Remember the TV show M.A.S.H.? Company Clerk Radar O'Reilly not only knew when the choppers were coming, he a … [Read more...]

Four Paths to Lean Office Productivity: Can the Just-In-Time Concept Work for You?

"The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize." — Shigeo Shingo, Japanese industrial engineer. Ever since Toyota invented lean manufacturing, much has been made of its application to all professions, including “desk” jobs. The lean philosophy boils down to this: cut anything in the work process that fails to add value to the end-user. The end-user may be a consumer, one's supervisor, or the group in the organizational structure to which you deliver your final product. Side note: Speaking of things that don't add value to the end user, check out this short clip of how I learned the hard way that my newsletters weren't hitting home, and what I did to fix it: Video - Eliminating Low Value Business Activities A central tenet of lean is "Just In Time" or "JIT" produ … [Read more...]

Four Ways to Avoid Complacency: NEVER Hit Pause on Your Career

"Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive."—Andrew Grove, Hungarian-American businessman and engineer. After finally accomplishing a tough task or achieving a long-term goal, it's human nature to want to sit back and take a breather. “I deserve a little down time,” you might think. The Romans called it "resting on your laurels," because back then a laurel-leaf crown was a common reward for winning an athletic or political contest. The problem? You might feel satisfied because you’ve gotten where you want to be or hit your numbers and rest on your laurels too long. When you’ve achieved a massive goal, I think it’s indeed cause for a celebration. However, getting through a long day of meetings isn’t cause for a mindless day the following. When rest … [Read more...]

Six Ways to Ensure a Restorative Workspace: Translating Comfort to Productivity

"A change is as good as a rest." – Old English language saying, attributed to British poet Andrew Leach. Most of us realize the value of taking care of ourselves. Taking care of, cherishing, and loving ourselves translates into greater productivity. But often, we think of this as something we do only in our down time or during our breaks. Taking breaks is certainly a good start, but you can also boost your productivity by making your workspace a more pleasant place to spend time. I'm not talking about ergonomics here; I’m talking about mental and emotional comfort. In many cases, comfort has more than a physical element; it's psychological as well. (← click to tweet) When you're mentally and emotionally calm and fulfilled, even at a subconscious level, you'll feel better physically, and … [Read more...]

Three Myths to Ignore About Millennial Colleagues: Stop Blinding Yourself with Sound Bites

"Millennials don't just want to read the news anymore. They want to know what they can do about it." – Ian Somerhalder, Actor and entrepreneur. You’ve probably heard some negative press about Millennials, the current generation taking the workforce by storm. These young people, born between 1980 and 2000, are hitting the ground running straight from college and business school, and they will represent 75% of the workforce by 2025. Critics of the Millennial Generation call them disloyal, overly ambitious, entitled, and even lazy. Nonsense (←Click to Tweet). While of course there are always individual bad apples, I've found none of those labels to be true as a rule. All three of my children are Millennials. I also love working with Millennials in my client organizations when given the opp … [Read more...]

Four Ways to Intensify Your Focus: Maximizing the Value of the Time You Have

  "You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks."—Winston Churchill, British statesman. One of the characteristics of high achievers is their intensity of focus. (←Click to Tweet) High achievers know how to bury themselves in their work to such an extent that nothing can easily pull them away. It's like they're in a productivity trance. Fortunately, you CAN learn to be more focused, even if you believe you’re one of the worst multi-taskers on the planet. Here are four effective ways to tighten up your concentration and intensify your focus. 1. Keep a distraction list open. An active mind works on many levels, some of them subconscious. Your brain may suddenly come up with an idea or reminder that threatens to derail you from your task while … [Read more...]

Self-Sabotage: Five Ways to Kill Your Own Productivity

"Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right." – Henry Ford, pioneering American automaker. In some ways, you may be your own worst enemy—even when you don't realize it. Self-sabotage is a very real problem in corporate America, and I've seen many people and organizations fall prey to it (← click to tweet).  It's almost never deliberate; it's typically either due to subconscious beliefs or compulsive activities that take control of your good sense. It can happen even to those of you who consider yourself a top producer, if you let your guard down. Self-sabotage can even feed on contentment; it's one of the more destructive aspects of our subconscious minds, which can otherwise serve us so well on the productivity front. Paralysis analysis may be the most famous for … [Read more...]